What a difference a year makes. This time last year I was certainly confused about my life, but I felt I had things under control:
In January, I made some major headway in reducing my debt. In February, both my financial and my giant ass situation improved, but my relationship didn't. Then, the summer, um, sucked. Like, a lot. And then, you know, healing and change.
I spent about a week at "home" during my holiday break from work -- partly out of boredom, but mostly out of genuine interest. I suppose I still put home in quotations because I think I'm still a little resentful about having grown up in a place that had little to offer. Or in a family that wasn't able to keep me as safe as I believed they should. But, amazingly, I don't really feel that way anymore. It was certainly a gradual process -- all 27 years of it -- and I only really started to notice my own appreciation for my home this year. Because of circumstances -- some positive and some negative -- I've been back to Pennsylvania, and my mother's house, five times in the last six months. That's, like, a record. Every year since I left at 18 I've hated going back and avoided it whenever I could.
But, in June, I began to notice a slight shift. Which, oddly enough, I attribute to the price of cereal. I visited home for my first extended period since the middle of college, and while there, I made a trip or two with my mother to Wal-mart. And, while I don't necessarily agree with their business practices and much prefer Target for my bargain-priced groceries and personal care items, Wal-mart is just closer to my mom's house. They sell two things I wanted -- hair color and cereal -- for dollars less than I pay in New York. And, it occurred to me that, maybe, just maybe, there's something to be said for living in Central Pennsylvania, particularly with an economic crisis barreling down on us (hindsight is, of course, 20/20).
I noticed it again at Thanksgiving (Honey Nut Shredded Wheat is $2.50 a box?! Seriously?!), only not directly tied to a trip to Wal-mart. Although I was in a pretty terrible emotional state, I had pleasant conversations with my mother and brother, and gained perspective (and, more accurately perhaps, distance) to their considerably less than perfect living situations. It was not only nice to feel genuinely missed in their daily lives, but missed period. And while their situations are not ones that I wish to be in (and am grateful that I am not anymore), I've come to appreciate the value of staying the hell out of it. I love them, but I don't need to fix them.
And having just returned from another extended stay, I can honestly say that I had a nice time (dance party in Brett's room!). I was asked by numerous people if I have any plans of moving back. And, for once, rather than laughing, I responded with, "well, I wouldn't rule it out someday." And I certainly couldn't have thought that, let alone said it, five years ago when I moved to New York. I have no plans to move back -- or anywhere -- in the immediate future, but unless something (or, more likely, someone) keeps me here, I don't see myself ringing in 2012 in Times Square. The psychic did tell me I was moving in 2009, after all, but I thought she just meant to Park Slope with Michelle.
On the year-end note, though, 2008 wasn't all misery. I thrived on strengthening two of my closest friendships -- Michelle, Mary: I would be at the bottom of the East River without your support and quick-witted insights; and making new ones -- Kim, Marissa, JP: I adore you and look forward to more drama to discuss ahead. And while I may not be more than 12 pages into the book, for those that don't know already, I did lose my publishing virginity this year to a real live magazine (with a circulation of 2.5 million, no less!).
No... I still have no money, I'm still in the same job and my ass is still bigger than I'd like, but, as has become my trademark phrase over the year... I'm doing just fine. Thank you to everyone and everything (Coldstone, Celexa, writing, Yellow Tail Shiraz and reruns of House of USA) who helped me get through 2008. And a preemptive thank you to all who will hear me bitching through 2009!